At around 19:00 hours yesterday (20th June), Thames Valley Police received multiple 999 calls from members of the public about numerous stabbings in Forbury Gardens.
Various police units and emergency ambulance resources were sent to the scene, including two Air Ambulances.
There have been some unconfirmed reports that a police sergeant who was one of the first to arrive on the scene rugby tackled a suspect as he tried to run away.
When officers arrived, they were faced with multiple casualties and commenced CPR on at least two victims before the arrival of the ambulance service.
A video has been shared on social media that shows at least three victims on the floor surrounded by pools of blood as officers tried desperately to save their lives.
Three people died, and many others suffered serious injuries.
Personal trainer Lawrence Wort, 20, who said he was around 10 metres from the attack, told PA:
“The park was pretty full, a lot of people sat around drinking with friends when one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them.
“He stabbed three of them, severely in the neck, and under the arms, and then turned and started running towards me, and we turned and started running.
“When he realised that he couldn’t catch us, he tried to stab another group sat down, he got one person in the back of the neck, and then when he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park.”
A spokesperson for the South Central Ambulance Service said:
“Our SCAS ambulance teams and partners were called this evening to an incident of a stabbing in Reading.
“Multiple ambulance resources were sent to the scene including, five ambulance crews, one specialist practitioner, three ambulance officers, our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), the helicopter and critical care response unit from Thames Valley Air Ambulance and the critical care unit from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, two ambulance doctors and our colleagues from London Ambulance Service.
“We were assessing and treating a number of casualties who had sustained injuries as a result of the incident.
“Thank you to everyone who helped those who were injured in this situation.
“Our thoughts are with everyone who was involved in the events which took place in Reading”.
A 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene and remains in police custody at this time. There have been various reports in the mainstream media that the suspect is ‘Libyan’.
Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter, Head of Crime, said:
“The Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit has launched a murder investigation following this incident.
“We have made one arrest, and at this stage, we are not looking for any other people in connection with this incident. There is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public; however, we urge people to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious by calling the police.
“This is not currently being treated as a terrorism incident; however, officers are keeping an open mind as to the motivation for the incident and are being supported by colleagues from Counter Terrorism Policing South East.
“There have been some reports that this incident was linked to the Black Lives Matter protest which took place in Reading earlier this afternoon. I can confirm that this incident is not connected. It occurred around three hours after the protest had concluded.
“We are also aware that the incident was captured on mobile phones and would like to hear from anyone who has video footage.
“Out of respect for those deceased and injured, along with their loved ones, please do not circulate this footage on social media – this will be incredibly distressing.
“Police cordons continue to be in place and are likely to be for some time as we work to establish the circumstances of what has happened. You will also see an increased police presence in the area as we continue to make enquires.
“I would urge the public to avoid the area at this time and thank the community for their patience. We will let you know as soon as the area is back open.
“The thoughts of everyone at Thames Valley Police are with those who have been affected by this tragic incident and I understand the concern that this will have caused amongst the community.
“Please be assured that the safety of the public is our primary concern and we will do all that we can to investigate this incident robustly and bring those responsible to justice.”
“Anyone with information on what happened in Forbury Gardens should call Thames Valley Police on 101, quoting reference 1159 20/6.”
Home Secretary Pritti Patel said:
“This evening we saw a senseless attack on people enjoying a Saturday evening with family and friends.
“My heart, prayers and thoughts are with all of those affected and to the people of Reading who will be deeply shocked and concerned by this terrible incident.
“I am in contact with the police and will ensure they have all the support they need. I would like to thank Thames Valley Police and the emergency services for their response.
“For now, I ask the public locally to share any information they may have with the police and to continue to avoid the area”.
Boris Johnson said:
“My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene”.
Following the incident, specialist CTSFO (Counter-Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officers) carried out a raid on an address believed to be linked to the suspect.
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